NeNe Leakes knows her son Bryson Bryant is struggling — but he has to be the one to make a change.
In a preview clip of her upcoming “Reality With the King” podcast episode that dropped on Monday, July 24, the former Real Housewives of Atlanta star, 55, broke her silence on Bryson’s most recent arrest. According to documents obtained by Us Weekly, earlier this month, Bryson, 31, was booked on multiple charges in Lawrenceville, Georgia, including violating probation, possession of a schedule II controlled substance, loitering/prowling and giving a false name to a law enforcement officer after he allegedly told police he was his younger half-brother, Brentt Leakes.
Bryson “needs rehabilitation” and “a lot of counseling,” NeNe told podcast host Carlos King in the footage from the podcast episode, which will be released on Tuesday, July 25.
“He has an addiction. He’s been struggling with it for years,” she explained, adding that Bryson has been to rehab and relapsed multiple times. “As a mom, just to watch it is — my hands are tied. You know, he’s 31 years old, he’s an adult. He has three children, three beautiful children who I adore. He has a wife. [There’s] not much that I can do.”
NeNe further pointed out that it has to be the person suffering from the addiction who needs to be ready to make a change — no family member or loved one can do it for them.
“I have spent so much money to get Bryson where he need to be, but every time I sent him off, I said, ‘You are giving your ass up and we are sending you off.’ But I learned through counseling myself that he has to say, ‘I am ready to go,’ not me making him go,” NeNe shared. “So until Bryson is ready to make a change, there’s nothing I can do.”
The reality star — who shares Bryson with ex Calvin Bryant and Brentt, 23, with late husband Gregg Leakes — said that she was “kinda numb” to Bryson’s issues “because it’s been happening for so many years.”
During a 2012 episode of RHOA, NeNe famously refused to bail Bryson out of jail after he was caught stealing razors from a local Wal-Mart.
Bryson was already on probation at the time, and NeNe was furious. “He’s had a really easy life, so now I’m gonna show him what a hard life is. He’s gonna stay in jail, I’m not getting him out, and he can figure it out from behind bars,” she said at the time.
In Monday’s preview clip, King asked NeNe point-blank how being on the show from the time he was a teen influenced his drug abuse.
“I don’t think it helped, but I don’t think it was the sole cause of it,” NeNe responded, explaining that with her fame and appearance on RHOA came attention that her sons “did not ask for.”
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If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).